Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Holiday letter to all sewists!

Well, living here in the remote Alaskan landscape has brought me back to one of my very first creative outlets...SEWING! I learned how to sew slowly through my childhood, and made my first dress at fifteen. I put the skill on the shelf until needed for mending and alterations. I pursued my art education degree through my twenties and then taught for a few years. Now, I am a stay at home mother and having moved here it has been difficult for me. Family and friends are in the Midwest and on the east coast. so, it is rare to never that I get to visit.
See that...NO JOANNE'S! Aaaahhhh! Can you tell I'd rather be sewing than 4 wheeling?
Having rainy weather and a napping baby, I began to sew again! It has been a great creative and artistic outlet for me while I am "stranded" here on this Alaskan island. I have found many great friends and comrades in sewing thru a few different online forums. It has been a fantastic way for me to share my hobby, ask for help in the craft and to build friendships. Thanks to all you ladies for being there for me! Some days here it is just so dark, dreary and cold~ but your friendships have helped me through to the sunny spots : )
Yup...July at the ocean here requires many water proof layers...the water IS freezing!
Through my sewing journey this past 2 and a half years, I have discovered the joys and fails associated with pdf patterns, serging, pattern testing, having an Etsy shop, and blogging. Throughout  my time here I am glad that I have had the chance to expand my skills and sew for my family!
I want to share with you all a few pieces of clothing that I am so proud of! The patterns came from my favorite pattern shop: Create Kids Couture. Their paper and pdf patterns are fantastic! These patterns are fabulous boutique designs that are easy to follow and result in heirloom garments!
The ladies on staff are so helpful and kind as well. If you have any questions or problems understanding the info, they are there to help.
Here is the newest pdf release for Create Kids Couture...
 Petunia's Pretty Petal Dress and Pants PDF Pattern
THIS smile makes it even more fun!
My little dollie here just started to say "pitty" (pretty) when she wears her dresses!
WOW! Look at ALL that poof in the tulle either!
So, naturally for the holidays, I had to make a CKC mash up!
What is a mash up~ you ask?!
Its when you take a few of their patterns and combine your favorite features.
I just love the ruffles, pick ups and lace!
Thanks ladies....
for your help, inspiration, sewing support, friendship
and most of all for allowing me to SHARE with you!
Hope you have beautiful,  Happy Hoildays!

Monday, December 9, 2013

DIY: Shirred Sash with Removable Rosettes!

With the holiday season in full swing, every little girl needs a dress to show off!
My little dollie will be wearing this lovely lace trimmed tress, the Joy from Create Kids Couture.
Now, my little sweetie is a skinny thing AND she refuses to wear the sash that is included with the I had to improvise! 

I whipped up this lovely lace belt with shirring. To make wrestling dressing her even easier, I added the fantastic KAM snaps to the ends of this cute belt. Now dressing her is a cinch!
The key to the belt sizing is to cut the fabric to your desired length and width.
I usually make mine about 2.5" - 3" wide.
The length you need to cut is waist measurement plus 6" (5" will cinch up with shirring and the extra 1" allows 1/2" seam allowance for the short ends).
For example, my daughter has a 19" waist, so I cut a 25" long strip of fabric.
Easy peasy!
First, I simply roll hem the long edges to start.
Next, you need to fold over the short raw edges and stitch them down.
Then, you shirr! I have an easy tutorial for shirring here:
Finally, when you are finished shirring, attach 2 KAM snaps to each short end of your belt!
To dress up the sash, and give it a boutique look, I added a rosette to the belt.
You can find my free tutorial on how to make one here:
To get the most use out of this darling creation, I also added a KAM snap to the back of the rosette and to the front of the sash. Now, I can use the sash without a rosette, or even add a pretty heart for Valentines Day!
Instead of sewing the rosette onto a headband, I stitched it onto a small fabric square. The square is small enough to be hidden behind the rosette and it is 2 layers of fabric for durability. Be sure to add the snap BEFORE you stitch on your rosette!
You can purchase these great pliers and snaps here:

Of course, I HAD to whip up a coordinating boutique headband to match! 

Hopefully, pictures with Santa will get smiles this year!
Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What does the Fox say?! ... DIY: Shirred Headband & Fabric Flowers!

I usually don't jump on the bandwagon...but THIS fabric was too cute to pass up! I happened to get my hands onto some of this adorable Harvest Fox fabric from Joann's autumn inspirations line. I was so excited! Living in Alaska, I knew I needed to make this into a romper for baby V. She loves it too!   
I used the Create Kid's Couture pattern Autumn's Peasant Sleeve Romper to make it!
This pattern is really great. It is easy to follow, easy to cut out and creates such an adorable boutique style outfit!
You can get the pdf here:
If you are a paper pattern type of gal, you can order this same paper pattern here:
So, as I was making this, I decided that V needed a cute rosette headband to match.
I used many of the boutique finishes that are showcased in the Create Kid's Couture patterns such as shirring and rolled hems!
Their tutorials are easy to use, and have great instructions, photos and diagrams.
Now, I just know you want to make one too... so let's get started!
You will need:
  • One button for the center of your Rosette Flower
  • One strip of fabric for the headband measuring 2" x 30" ( I used the fox print).
  • One strip of fabric for the rolled edge rosette measuring 2" x 15" ( I used the fox print).
  • One square of fabric ( I used the cream polka dot print).
  • Thread to coordinate.
  • 1 bobbin of elastic thread for shirring.
  • Needle for hand sewing on the flower.
  • Cutting ruler & Rotary cutter OR Scissors
  • Iron
  • Optional: Fray Check & Pinking Shears
Cut out your strips of fabric.
Cut out the square of fabric and set it aside for later.
Set up your serger for a rolled hem. TEST your settings first on a scrap piece until you like the finish.
If you want to record your settings for future use, save a scrap, and tape it to the free pdf print out in my other post here...
I have a Brother 1034d and here are the settings that I used...
You may need to adjust the settings on your machine due to variations in thread and fabric type.
Don't forget to remove the stitch finger too!
 Take your 30" long strip and serge your rolled edge, trimming away 1/4" or less.
Repeat on the other side so that both long edges are finished with a rolled edge.
Repeat these steps for your 15" strip as well
Take one of the ends of your serged strip.
Mark a 60 degree angle on the fabric.
I will trim away with my seger the corner starting from the tip (where my scissors is pointing) to the pencil mark.
*NOTE: If you do not have a ruler with the 60 degree angle markings on it, just measure up 1" on the corner (to where the pencil is). That will give you about the same angle.
Serge from the corner tip to the pencil mark (right next to my finger in the picture).
Repeat with the other end of your strip 30 " long strip, and one end of the 15" long strip, leaving one edge on your 15" strip straight and not sewn.
The ends of your strips will look like the above photo.
Trim off the rolled edge tails and seal the threads with a drop of fray check.
We will now shirr the headband. Set aside the short strip.
Take your 30" long strip and mark (with pins/chalk) up 3" from the point on one end, and 4" up from the point on the other end, as shown in the diagram above.
You will be sewing 4 equally spaced rows of shirring IN BETWEEN these points, as shown with the red dashed lines in the diagram above.
Then the extra fabric "tails" will become a part of your flower cluster on the front.
See the 2 tails hanging down a bit on the far left in the photo above? That needs to remain un-shirred.
Now for shirring...
Wind the elastic thread onto your bobbin. I machine wind my elastic thread onto the bobbin, just like I do for any other thread.
Easy peasy.
When you load your bobbin into the case, make sure you manually slide the thread into the clip that holds the thread as shown in the photo above.
The settings that work best on my Brother PC-420PRW are a thread tension of 5 (Increased just a bit more than the usual setting of 3) and my longest stitch length of 5.
I did some trial and error to find these. It took me about 5 rows of shirring to find the best tension/stitch length ratio. I just stitched one row and gave my fabric a pull until I got the best stretch!
I get a nice strechy stitch using regular thread in the needle, and the elastic thread in my bobbin. 
If you need more tips on shirring, check out this Create Kids Couture video on shirring...
Next, line up the edge of your presser foot about 1/4" away from your finished edge.
I put my presser foot right against the rolled edge.
You will need to hold the elastic thread when you start sewing.
Sew slowly the first few stitches and for backstitching.
Repeat the above step for the other edge.
Continue shirring this way until you have 4 rows of shirring, equally spaced apart on the length of your headband.
When you are finished, switch your bobbin back to regular thread.
Fold the wrong sides together and match up the ends of the rows of shirring (you should have this marked with pins or chalk).
Sew the short ends together, across the pinned/marked line.
Make sure you stitch over your shirring ends for strength, and backstitch at the beginning and end.
Steam your shirred headband.
Take the longer tail and flip it so that it is right side out and on a slight angle from the headband.
Run a few stitches across the twisted fabric to hold it.
Flip the short tail over the long one you just tacked on.
Tack it down if desired.
The tails that you just flipped and tacked down will become a decorative element to your headband, as seen on the far left in the photo above.
Set aside your headband.
 Now we will make the rosette flower for our coordinating boutique headband.
Get out your needle and thread.
Double over a long piece of thread and knot the end.
Set aside your threaded needle.
Take your 15" long rolled edge strip and fold over the raw edge. Fold it on a slight angle and pinch the fold on one corner.
Now we take the top edge (the edge we are not pinching) and begin to fold the edge with the other hand to form a pleat.
As you are doing this, you want to pinch it with the 1st fold that you are holding.
Continue doing this and slightly turn the pleats in a circle as you go.
Think of the fabrics that you are pinching like the center of a bike wheel.
You want to pleat and curve the fabric in a circle, just like the spokes would fan out from the center.
If you look a the above photo, my 1st fold with the raw edge is just under the knuckle of my thumb, at the bottom of the fanned out pleated stack.
Continue to turn, pleat and pinch the entire length of the 15" long strip.
Take the bottom edge of your rolled hem and curl it under just a bit, as shown above.
Pin well...MAKE SURE to pin through all layers so the rosette does not unravel!
I decided to hand sew all layers together. If you choose to do this, be certain that your stitches are near the middle, and that your button will cover them! 
Tuck under the point if desired.
Set your rosette flower aside.
Take your 6" square of contrasting fabric.
Fold it in half, then in half again so you have 4 layers of fabric.
It should look like a square from the top and like the above photo from the side.
Take your pinking shears and cut a curve from one point to the other.
Pink the straight edges also, trimming away just enough to separate the pieces.
Note: Armhole scrap pieces work great for this...just pink the edges!
You should have 4 pie shape pieces, like the one shown on the left.
Wrong side up, take the lower left corner, and fold it over the top right edge.
I like how the pie piece on the right is uneven.
Repeat the above steps for all 4 of your pie shapes.
Overlap the narrow points of 2 pie pieces, as shown on the bottom left.
Repeat with the other 2 pie pieces.
Overlap the narrow points of your pie pieces as shown above.
Set your Rosette on top of the pile of pie pieces.
Pin the center of the pie pieces onto the edges of the rosette.
Place your rosette across the shirred headband so that the tails are off to one side and can be seen.
Pin the rosette onto the headband in a few places so it does not shift while hand sewing.
Using a needle and thread, sew through the center of the rosette, securing the pleats and the pie pieces together. Keep your stitches in the MIDDLE of the rosette. When all pieces are secure, add the button to the center of the flower and sew it onto the shirred headband. Make sure that the placement runs along the headband so the tails are shown. Use a few stitches to secure the pie pieces if desired.
Voila! Your coordinating boutique headband is now complete!
This unique piece can easily be a part of your next Create Kids Couture pattern...Just make sure you cut out, serge you rolled hems and shirr along with your pattern! It saves time.

 With just a few extra flips in the last folds, you can omit the button for more of a rose look like the rosette above.
I just have one question....
What DOES the fox say?!
Thanks for stopping by!